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2018 wasn’t the year for the Oscars to play it safe.
The world was watching Sunday night, not just to see who was going to go home with the coveted gold statue, but also to see how these powerful Hollywood players were going to respond to the many controversies floating in their orbit - namely #MeToo, #TimesUp and #OscarsSoWhite.
Much like the Golden Globes it was a silent stand, with Hollywood leaving their black frocks at home and instead donning #TimesUp pins. The men made quite the showing, with pins standing against Sam Rockwell, Bradley Whitford, Steven Spielberg, Richard Jenkins and Patrick Stewart’s pocket squares. As for the women, however, a #TimesUp pin was barely noticeable on the tiny belt of Elisabeth Moss, stuck in Meryl Streep’s hair, and tacked on to Sandra Bullock’s mini clutch. Emma Watson tried to go a bit bolder with a fake tattoo, but it was soon caught by anyone with a discerning eye that the message on her arm reading “Times Up” had a .
In a year where it felt like so much progress was being made, it’s difficult to see how this year’s Oscars helped propel #MeToo and #TimesUp forward, especially given some of the winners.
#ShutUpAndDribble may be been a winning moment for Kobe Bryant, but it’s unclear why the Oscars decided this was the year to overlook the fact that he was arrested in 2003 on sexual assault charges and give him an award. That, complied with the fact that everyone was wondering why Ryan Seacrest was on the red carpet and how Jimmy Kimmel was the most diverse host the Oscars could come up with in a year when #OscarsSoWhite and #DisTheOscars were making waves online as people pressed for fair representation in film.
The Oscars, despite all of the signs telling them otherwise, still, somehow, got it wrong.
In fact, it was Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph who when they Sunday night, had viewers at home nodding their heads exclaiming, yes, these women should have been hosts! Hollywood, for all it’s coordinated black and fancy lapel pins, still aren’t convincing anyone change will happen.
At least not any time soon.
Our next best hope for #MeToo and #TimesUp came from the acceptance speech of Frances McDormand, who while on stage called upon all of her fellow female nominees to stand. It was an empowering gesture that also proved how far Hollywood had to go, with @jodikantor of the New York Times tweeting: “The most striking thing, here in the room, about watching the female nominees stand? There were so few of them.” Yes, the ranks seemed thin, but then McDormand uttered two words that became the of the night—“inclusion rider.”
Now we know what hashtag to watch out for next year.
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